October 29, 2012

31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books: Summer Reading is Killing Me!

Summer Reading is Killing Me! is by Jon Scieszka, author of many hilarious books, including the beloved Stinky Cheese Man. This particular book is number seven in the Time Warp Trio series, and is kind of like The Eyre Affair for elementary boys.

For his last birthday, Joe's uncle gave him The Book: which keeps magically transporting him, and his friends Fred and Sam to different places. This time Fred accidentally stuck their assigned Summer Reading List into The Book, which plopped the three boys smack into the middle of Hoboken, New Jersey, with all the characters from the list.

At first the boys don't know what to do, but luckily Charlotte from Charlotte's Web helps them out. She weaves the words 'The Library' into her web. When they point out they don't know where the library is, she weaves:

M, T, TH: 9-8
W, F: 9-5
SAT: 11-2

Thus begin laugh-out-loud funny scenes, where the boys battle the bad guys from all the books, who are trying to wipe out the good guys.
"I saw Homer Price being carried by the Headless Horseman. Dracula was dragging Winnie-the-Pooh in a headlock. Mr. Twit was breaking Harold's purple crayon."
The boys are losing to the bad guys, who've holed up in the library, till the Girl helps them. She's an amalgamation of Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, Nancy Drew, a Baby Sitter's Club girl, and a Sweet Valley High girl. (The boys have always avoided all of those books, so they don't know who she is exactly: she's a combination of all feared "girl books" characters.) Fred, Joe, and the Girl attack the bad guys with books.
 "Come on, boys. Use our only weapon," she called. And she machine-gunned a whole row of Hardy Boys books off one end of a shelf onto the Cyclops' head.
"Nice shot," said Fred. He knocked out a goblin with a rapid-fire set of American Girls. "Don't you love a good series?"
Then we hit them with the heavy artillery. I tossed The Complete Illustrated Book of All Animals. Fred chucked Big Paintings by Everyone Who Ever Did One. The Girl unloaded The Big Big Big Dictionary of Names.
This book is so much fun - I think elementary boys who've avoided reading would probably love it. And any of you who love kids' books will love it too - Scieszka does such a clever job of mixing together all kinds of kids' titles. And, the back of the book actually includes a suggested Summer Reading List - full of an excellent selection of classic kid books.

I really liked Summer Reading Is Killing Me!. I'm definitely going to have to read more Time Warp Trio books!

Any Jon Scieszka fans out there?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommended age: 7 and up

This post is day 29 of my 31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.